Remembrance day 2017 | The Royal Mint

Remembrance Day 2017

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, poppy wreaths are laid in remembrance.

Remember, for Generations to Come

Remembrance Day is an important event in The Royal Mint’s calendar, when we join the nation in paying tribute to the brave men and women of conflicts past and present. Here you can learn about remembrance traditions, the history of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance and this year’s coin design.

The History of Remembrance

Remembrance Day began in 1919 as a way of remembering the war's sacrifices, by marking the time when hostilities ceased between the Allies of the First World War and Germany at 11am on 11 November 1918. Ceremonies have continued to take place at war memorials to mark this moment for almost a century. Every year on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the nation falls silent for two minutes.

Introduced by George V on the first Remembrance Day in 1919, this poignant silence was revived in the 1990s after it had fallen from favour. As conflict continues around the world today, it is marked to remember the dead of the First and Second World Wars and those who continue to risk their lives to protect our freedom and the values we hold.

The Royal Mint and Remembrance

The Royal Mint has a long-standing tradition of honouring servicemen and women, producing many of the medals that are awarded for service in the armed forces. Numerous employees lost their lives during the World Wars and some staff members in active service were even awarded medals made by their own colleagues.

Each year, the on-site war memorial hosts a ceremony to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and each year we are proud to release a coin, created by one of our own designers, for Remembrance Day.

The Poppy and Flanders Fields

After the death of his young comrade and friend Alexis Helmer, Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem called 'In Flanders Fields', inspired by the wild poppies growing around the graves in the battle-scarred earth.

The corn poppy, with its fragile petals and vivid red colour, has long been associated with war thanks to its ability to thrive in bleak conditions. Earth disturbed by artillery provided the ideal conditions in which scarlet poppies could grow. When the brutal Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century destroyed the landscape, blood red poppies sprung up around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

As the First World War raged through Europe, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ravaged by conflict. The poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the barren battlefields of the Western Front, creating sweeping scenes of colour and life in a devastated landscape.

The poppies described in John McCrae's poem provide a moving reminder of the blood shed by so many. Inspired by the poem, American professor Moina Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy and campaigned to make the flower a symbol of remembrance. In Britain, the idea took hold and many people wore a poppy for the first time at the 1921 Armistice Day ceremony.

The remembrance poppy has endured as a powerful symbol of the sacrifices made by the armed forces both past and present, with the symbol used to raise awareness and fundraise throughout the year. In 2011, the town of Yeovil in Somerset was showered with 6,000 poppies from a Second World War plane and the moat of the Tower of London was covered with 888,246 ceramic poppies in 2014 – one for each British and Commonwealth serviceman killed in the First World War.

Who Will You Remember?

The designer of the Remembrance Day coin for 2017, Royal Mint graphic designer Stephen Taylor, was able to feel a deep connection to this subject because of a remarkable family story.

Oswald Jones, the great-grandfather of Stephen’s wife, was one of the many brave men who fought in the First World War. After a long and anxious wait, Oswald’s family received news that he had been shot and taken prisoner. With Oswald assumed dead, his family organised a funeral, like many other distraught families across Britain.

However, the family’s sadness turned to surprise when Oswald arrived home just hours before the funeral, kitbag over his soldier. His return home from the Prisoner of War camp where he was held had been delayed, but he was alive and well. The funeral became a street party as Oswald’s safe return home was celebrated. Nearly 80 years later, after a long and full life, Oswald’s family held his funeral and said goodbye to their hero.

The history of conflicts like the First World War are littered with death tolls, almost too high to comprehend. Stories like Oswald’s remind us of the individual soldiers whose return was eagerly awaited, and of each soldier who never made the return journey home.









Who Will You Remember?

Inspired by Stephen’s family story, we are asking — who will you be thinking of this Remembrance Day? The stories and photographs that you upload will create a virtual ‘Wall of Remembrance’ to honour the individual heroes, and the sacrifice they made for generations past, and generations to come. 

Meet the Designer

The reverse design for the 2017 Remembrance Day Coin was created by Stephen Taylor, a member of The Royal Mint's Graphic Design team.

This is the second design of Stephen's to appear on a United Kingdom coin. He also created a portrait-themed design, which appeared on the range struck to mark Her Majesty The Queen becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch in 2015.

"I started my research by looking at words and symbols that are connected with Armistice Day, but the poppy is synonymous with remembrance and the traditions that surround it, so that became my focus.

I chose natural poppies with a realistic, wildflower quality, echoing the flowers John McCrae would have seen growing when he wrote 'In Flanders Fields'. It's a poignant reminder of the brave men and women who have lost their lives or been injured in conflicts past and present, enabling new life to grow from their sacrifice."

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